DIXFIELD – From where Matt Cotnoir was standing, it wasn’t such a difficult angle.

After getting shoved into the left corner, the Livermore Falls junior not only found enough room to maneuver but also the perfect opportunity.

“I was checked in the corner there, but I stuck with it to get down the end line, and I just shot it in,” said Cotnoir.

The goal was just enough for the Andies to blank Dirigo 1-0 Monday in a battle of the MVC’s most improved squads. Both teams had three wins between them last year.

The Andies improved to 5-2-1 and bolstered their standing in the Western C playoff chase.

“We hadn’t won a game in four years,” said Livermore coach Larry Thornton, whose team was in the ninth spot in the most recent Heals. “Now, all of a sudden, we’ve won five games. All of them have been great wins for us. All of them are steps in the right direction.”

Dirigo outshot the Andies 21-7 overall and 12-2 in the second half, but the Cougars (6-2-1) dropped their second straight game because it couldn’t bury chances. The Cougars had an 11-1 edge in corner kicks.

“It’s the problem we’ve had the last couple games,” said Dirigo coach Dennis Hanson, whose team lost its first game of the year Saturday at Mt. Abram and were fifth in Western C. “We just can’t put the ball in the net. We had the opportunities against Mt. Abram, and we couldn’t put the ball in the net, same thing against Telstar. We’re outshooting our opponents. We’re just not finishing well.”

Cotnoir’s goal came with 28:12 left after a battle in the left corner with Dirigo defender Alex LeBlanc. The bigger Dirigo player put the body on Cotnoir and nudged him toward the corner. Cotnoir shoved back and then snuck by along the end line.

“I had a little bit of space in the corner,” said Cotnoir. “He was pushing off. I just leaned into him and went around him. I was shielding the ball off. I saw the goalie out a little bit. So I shot it right in close to the goal, and it went in. I was surprised.”

Dirigo was equally stunned. Though the Cougars had plenty of time to produce the equalizer, the Andies defense held fast, and keeper Marcus Ryder preserved the shutout.

“I didn’t even look at the clock because I didn’t want to know what time it was,” said Cotnoir. “I just wanted to get the game over with.”

The Andies had the early opportunity with a penalty shot 4:27 into the game on a tripping call, but Zach Keene’s shot was caught by Dirigo goalie Josh Saphier.

The Cougars outshot the Andies 9-1 for most of the period.

“After we beat Hall-Dale, we knew that we became a threat because now we’re worth points,” said Thornton. “In the past, this team was worth very little. Now every single game, they’ve got to come with their best or we don’t win or continue to succeed.”

After Cotnoir’s goal, the Cougars had plenty of pressure, but no results. Eric Bolduc had a shot from the right side and Colby Knapp and Jon Smith had redirections in front. Wesley Gagnon had a low bid from the right wing in the final minutes.

“It was frustrating,” said Hanson. “We couldn’t get into our groove. We couldn’t get into our mode of play. I give Livermore credit. They played an outstanding game, and they frustrated our guys.”


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